Sunday, May 10, 2015

Pee, Poo and Piku


Image Courtesy Indiatoday.com
Also on  The Huffington Post.
 
Though unsavory, there is something about pee and poo that makes us laugh. After Nitin Gadkari’s revelation of using pee to nurture plants created mirth on twitter, Shoojit Sircar uses poo to evoke laughter in Piku. Much like Vicky Donor, Shoojit exploits bodily secretions to take us on a journey of unsaid love between stuck-up characters in a dysfunctional family.

When I saw the trailer where an unkempt Amitabh Bachchan frets about emotion being linked to motion, I wasn’t actually enticed. I mean, who wants to watch a movie sans breathtaking scenery, melodious songs and a charming hero? Regardless, I ventured in Audi5 of PVR Gurgaon, clutching the rave review showered on Piku by Anupama Chopra. After The Times of India began doling three stars for Rohit Shetty and Sajid Khan directed movies, I go either by Anupama Chopra or Facebook recommendations. 


Watching Piku is akin to relishing homemade daal chawal sprinkled with desi ghee and spiced with fresh coriander chutney. One bite and it reminds you of Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s movies where the ride was more enjoyable than the destination. In Piku, Shoojit maps Bengali idiosyncrasies with such love that he continues to play with his characters without wanting to go anywhere.

Far away from item songs and glossy locales, the director creates riveting drama between a hypochondriac father and his irritable daughter Deepika Padukone. To me, Deepika hasn’t looked prettier even though she is neither wearing makeup nor navel revealing saris. Although, she strikes a jarring note by screaming a notch higher than was actually required. But that is, perhaps because I am sensitive to people who speak loudly. Surprisingly, Deepika emotes to match up to the formidable duo - Amitabh and Irfan Khan. And her love for her father is to be judged by her actions and not her words. Perhaps, there is an exasperated yet selfless Piku in most of us who take care of elderly parents. 


In Piku, Amitabh is a tour de force. Except on occasions when his Bengali gets mixed with his inherent UP accent, Amitabh as Bhaskor Bannerjee is a selfish, irritating yet endearing old man. Eventually it is his acting that makes this movie worthwhile. 

 Somehow, I believed that Irfan Khan was an overrated actor. But he proved me wrong in Piku. Who wants six packs or dimpled cheeks when one can emote with eyes? His unsolicited warmth and restrained acting lights up the screen. The fact that Irfan Khan is not Salman Khan adds to the charm.

Any movie devoid of a great story has to be about magical moments. Piku is sprinkled with many such mundane yet magical moments. Like when Moushami talks about not wearing a bra inside a nightie, when Amitabh gets drunk or when Irfan comes up with ingenious solutions for Amitabh’s recurrent constipation. Of course, Irfan's idea to make Amitabh sit on a western style toilet the Indian way cracked me up.

The script by Juhi Chaturvedi is ahead of its times. I don’t remember any Indian father introducing his daughter as financially and sexually independent (strictly need based). Moreover, Amitabh’s liberal views about women, though twisted according to his own quirky personality are refreshing.

If movies about small moments intrigue you, go for it. This is not to say that Piku is flawless because after a point it becomes more of the same. Piku is perhaps not for teenagers because the sixteen year old next to me was busy playing games on his mobile while his dad guffawed and his mother quietly wiped her moist eyes.

52 comments:

  1. Your last line summed up the movie perfectly.
    Even I'm tempted to watch the movie and I've already started working on my emotions to drag the family with me.

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    1. Go ahead. It makes you laugh and reflect on your own filial relationships.

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  2. Such a well penned review Alka. I rarely watch movies in the hall but I think I will go for this one !

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    1. I don't either Ruch. But Piku makes you laugh and reflect on your own relationship with elderly parents.
      Go watch it.

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  3. Great review Alka. Definitely need to watch this one !

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  4. I hate excessive potty talk and humor. But your review makes me want to see the movie. The husband flatly refused after seeing the trailor. :) I guess I will wait for it to come on satellite TV. And, Irrfan and overrated? I have always loved his acting. :)

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    1. The director has stayed away from going over the top with potty humor. The motion is within the emotion.:)
      Irfan lights up the screen with his minimal acting in Piku.
      Go watch it Rachna.

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    2. Rachna, my husband did not enjoy it as much as I did. Though I saw him laughing all the way.

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  5. The movie came as a whiff of fresh air despite the 'non stop discussion on constipation and what follows thereafter'! It is rare to see such flawless perfrmances with a taut storyline!

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  6. Enjoyed viewing the movie & now reading your review :)

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    1. Thank you Deepak, always good to see you here.

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  7. Enjoyed viewing the movie & now reading your review :)

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  8. All reviews seem to make it a must-watch :) (Apropos of Irfan, I somehow always liked his acting since his days in the TV serial 'Chanakya')

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    1. I went by the reviews and Facebook recommendations. Not disappointed at all.

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  9. The movie seems to be the 'talk of the town' these days. Apart from 'motion-related-emotions' :P
    Lovely review, Alka. I'll definitely be watching it soon.

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    1. It is not a classic or a cult movie, just different and endearing.
      Go ahead.

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  10. I loved it...in bits and pieces it reminded me of my dad...how he beleives firmly that marriage is not the culmination of everything related to women... and then when he scolds Deepika and then says he was just testing her patience, my dad is the same in many ways :) ofcourse my sis & I cried a lot at the end... refreshing movie ...

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    1. Those who could relate on a personal level enjoyed it more. It made them laugh, reflect and connect.

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  11. Your wonderful review makes me feel like watching this movie:) Thank you:)

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  12. Have been hearing great reviews... now to find the time to make a plan and head out for this one.

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    1. The reviews made me see it too. Also I was able to connect on a personal level.

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  13. wanted to see this movie and now after reading alka's review definitely watching

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    1. Thank you but please don't go with great expectations. It's not a classic.

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  14. I agree with Suresh, have always thought Irrfan as a very good actor since Chanakya. But do you remember his performance in a TV show on Lenin even before Chanakya. Excellent! If I would watch this movie it would be for him and AB. I agree Alka, Deepika can be quite over the top and shreiky in her performance. Never appreciated her as an actor. An enjoyable review!

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    1. Thank you Beloo, perhaps I haven't seen his body of work hence the feeling about Irfan.
      I stand corrected.

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  15. My hubs and I could have been the hero &heroine of this film.My son bought the first day tickets for this one and my daughter too asked me to have my hubs watch it,but---he refused to go.
    Now i am waiting for it to come on the TV.

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    1. Really, but why? Anyway, it is an ideal TV watch.

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  16. And finally Deepika got to show her talent teaming up with Irrfan Khan, that too without wearing skimpy clothes ! Read many reviews , loved this one.

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  17. Your writing is as interesting as the movie . Am sharing this.

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    1. That is such a sweet thing to say Kalpana, thank you.
      Means a lot.

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  18. If it is anything like Hrishikesh Mukherjee movies, then I'm all for it!!
    Egad!! The duo sound like me and my dad!! Must be the Bong connection! :D

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    1. The fact that you can see your own parent, is perhaps what connects the most.
      Good to see you here Roshni.

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  19. This movie looks like it has nailed it when it comes to touching human chords.
    Am yet to catch up on this one but the review above makes me feel I will be the one wiping my moist eyes.

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    1. The slightly emotional part is towards the end for a brief period, rest of it is comedy.

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  20. Alka, there have been days when my day has begun with solemn conversations on the colour, mobility or stubbornness of the stuff in the ' question mark' part of the canal. Thanks to my in-law's obsession with it. And every time felt like screaming for all to stop. I could so relate to this movie and watching it was one cathartic experience. And your review is absolutely delightful! Deepika I will say is evolving as an actress and not just another pretty face. Always a fan of Irrfan's nuanced minimal craft. at the same time Big B is lucky to be still donning the pan cake when the makers are not afraid to try new subjects.

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    1. You summed it up so well. There is a selfless irritated Piku in most of us.

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  21. I have yet to see this one...................but with three stellar performers, I am guessing I will find the little moments workable for me. Besides, every mother who has gone through the regime of potty training, I want to see how it kinda branches out :P

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    1. Look who is here!
      You will love it, just don't go with any expectations and enjoy the ride.

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  22. I ahve not seen but my neghbour has and she too said that it is a good one .. so will try to take time out this weekend :)

    Bikram's

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  23. I have read so much about the movie... but after reading your review I am tempted to watch it. I hope I will find a DVD here.
    Loved reading your review, the way you describe at emotional level. :)

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    1. That is so sweet of you.
      It's not a classic or something but I was able to connect in more ways than one.
      :)

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  24. Tempted to watch the movie, though the thought of poo is turning me off.

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    1. It is not the way you think it is. I give you my word, you will enjoy it. Love the way the director handled the whole thing.

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  25. I loved Vicky Donor and this was equally good.
    My prophecy in 1971 has turned true. After watching Anand, I told my brother "that tall lanky man in white kurta is going to be the one to watch out" How true. Amitabh is getting better and better.
    All said and done all three have given their best, with Deepika having a slight edge over the other two (and that too with ease)

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